The NHL is entering the business end of the season once again as the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup is finally upon us.
The 16 best teams from the four divisions go up against each other in a bracket tournament beginning on May 2nd, with a potential game 7 in the final taking place on June 30th, we’re looking at a huge two months of ice hockey coming up.
We’ll take a look ahead to the tournament and pick out our favourites as well as the best NHL betting picks for you to earn some extra cash.
|2022 NHL Stanley Cup|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||+950||+1000||+1100|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||+810||+1000||+1100|
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Many people expected the Avalanche to be the front runners at the start of the season and while they’ve made it to the post-season, it didn’t all go to plan for them.
With that said though, they are currently sitting top of the West Division with 55 wins from their 79 games so far this season to accumulate 116 points – a total only beaten by the Florida Panthers across the entire NHL.
Players like Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen have been excellent all season and give the Franchise great confidence on the ice no matter who is standing across from them on the day.
They have a need to win now too, with nine unrestricted free agents pending, including leading scorer Nazem Kadri and both goalies Darcy Kuemper and Pavel Francouz.
The Avalanche are the clear favorites to go all the way after a disappointing collapse last season, and at +350 there is good value in them too.
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The Panthers are closing in on Franchise history as they enter the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs for a third consecutive season for the first time. Now they want to add to that by claiming their first title since way back in 1996.
Jonathan Huberdeau has had an outstanding season and is the team’s leading scorer year, making him a candidate for the Hart Trophy, while number one defenseman and likely Masterton Trophy-finalist Aaron Ekblad is also part of the side.
Add the likes of Aleksander Barkov, Sam Reinhart, and Sam Bennett to the side and you can understand why they’re so potent going forward.
They have accumulated the most points of any side so far this season (120) and are averaging well over four goals per game so far this season, while defensively, they’ve only allowed 232 goals in 79 games.
The Panthers are absolutely stacked this season and with goalie Sergei Bobrovsky finding his form once again this season they have a great chance of going all the way.
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The winner of the last two NHL Stanley Cup competitions at +1100 is a wild price, even if they haven’t had the greatest of seasons this year.
Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy is still the man between the sticks and is having another Vezine Trophy calibre year, while 2018 Norris Trophy winner Victor Hedman and star forward Steven Stamkos have largely made up for yet another injury hit campaign to star man Nikita Kucherov.
With that said though, there is a reason they’ve been priced the way they have and that’s because they have played a lot of hockey over the last two years.
They’ve gone deep into the summer in each of the last two seasons and having been successful twice already there could be a lack of motivation if the going gets tough, especially against the two favourites.
They do have the motivation of becoming the first side to do a three-peat since the New York Islanders famous four-in-a-row side between 1980-83, but it seems unlikely when they’re not the best side anymore.
An incredible ten-game winning streak back in February saw the Flames fly past their competition in the Pacific Division and they now look set to head into their first post-season series win since 2015.
Offensively they are one of the most stacked sides in the NHL. They are guided by an explosive top-line comprising of Matthew Tkachuk, Elias Lindholm, and the man tipped by many to win the Hart Trophy Johnny Gaudreau with a career-high season, which is saying something considering his 99-point campaign back in 2018/19.
They have got the third-best defense in the entire NHL with 198 goals conceded so far as of April 26, the least in the entire Western Conference and bettered only by New York Rangers (197) and Carolina Hurricanes (196).
Goalie Jacob Markstrom is the reason for that and is in the conversation for the best players in the league in that position, which instantly gives the Flames a great opportunity in a best-of-seven series.